Used to be I was happy to take a walk along a path away from cars and smelly, noisy, dangerous street traffic. Nowadays? Not so much.
I’ve written here about deranged drivers of cars and trucks on the roads and highways. Now its time to draw a comparison to other kinds of drivers. Specifically, people on bikes, bicycles. Or, as those who must observe the new stylish market-centric vernacular refer to, cyclists.
Cyclists are not all the same. In fact, barring the altogether separately cultured, and commercially tooled bike messenger, there are really two fairly distinct groups of cyclists. Those who ride for fun, recreation, and leisure, and those who ride for fitness and/or competition. Its this second group I have a beef with. Those who ride road bikes.
Ever since Lance Armstrong, the Tour De France, and the oh-so-exploitive marketing forces behind the ever lighter, ever aerodynamically conceived, ever inflated priced road bikes came together in a synergistic harmony, cycling athletes in this country have been consumed in the spirit and flesh of cycling OCD.
Ok, that’s fine. Whatever you need to lose yourself in. Just don’t hurt anybody. Right? WRONG!
I don’t know what part of the mind is responsible for it, but the behavior of road bikers in my area (Hamden and New Haven, CT), seem to be missing a component of safety best practice that any (ok. most.) car driver would have instinctively. The part of the brain that tells people in front of them, they are coming up besides them and will be passing. Yes, its easier in a car because the assumption is that the driver in front has a rear view mirror they use. But, with a pedestrian, or another cyclist, there is never a rear view mirror. And, btw, nor should there be! The onus on bikers and walkers, is on the one behind. Not the one in front. Therefore, the best practice, the safe practice is to call out “On your left!”, “Left side!” and so on.
But thèse nouveau élite, oblivious, selfish cyclists do not do it. They come up behind you with no warning and startle people, run into them, and say nothing. They say nothing.
They are consumed and focused on asphalt, concret, gear shifting, weight distribution, how they look in their pompous outfits, status driven helmet and shoe choices, and whatever else they can’t bear to tear themselves away from to alert those in front they are coming up behind. For lack of another explanation as to why they ignore common courtesy towards others on the bike and jogging paths, they seem to act as if they are better than others who don’t belong to the same religion as they do. Shelling out thousands of dollars on equipment and clothing to mimic the real professionals who race as a lifelong career. They seem to act like they should have the priority. That it is everyone else who should yield to them. Everyone else that should be looking back constantly over their shoulders because there will be no warning when they come up behind you six inches away from catastrophe.
Any and all cyclist associations and bike clubs have rules of the road printed out for their members. They are often printed on signs at trail heads and along the way. The common courtesy of hailing from behind, is well ingrained in the book of good behavior. Unfortunately, most of the cyclists who need to do it the most, don’t. They are an embarrassing, selfish, arrogant bunch of goofballs. They are a scourge on peaceful walks, relaxing bike rides, and completely upset the karmic balance of nature. Yeccch!
Here are some sympathizing links: